I would like to begin my essay with a statement made by an American political scientist and writer Juliana Geran Pilon: "The idea of citizenship education is as old as the idea of creating civic society ... This idea is especially important in today's world ...To be a citizen doesn`t only mean to be born in a country, it also means to understand consciouslyand actively our responsibilities” (Juliana Geran Pilon , 1999, p 4). Having agreed to these remarks, I set out to examine the content of citizenship education in a greater detail and to find out whether it is necessary in society.
Nowadays we often come across with the term of citizenship education. This is due to the growing consensus that we have to prepare young generation, in particular,for living in a contemporary society and increasingly global world. Indeed, not many people are aware of the social structures and the processes surrounding them. Few people understand their rights and responsibilities, and few have contemplated on how these can be applied in order to solve social problems and create better life.
Citizenship Education has always been one of the main political andeducational agendum in England. There were many approaches to educate citizenship in the past and it is worth singling out the contribution of the Advisory Group on Education for Citizenship and Teaching of Democracy in Schools. Including citizenship education to the school curriculum was the result of hard work of the Advisory group. It became a new foundation subject for pupils aged 11to 16 fromAugust 2002 (DIEE/QCA, 1992a, 1999b). Including citizenship education as foundation subject in schools was quite an issue. Even now different debates are being concentrated around the necessity of introducing this subject into school curriculum. The reasons of introducing citizenship education into schools according to Professor Bernard Crick were firstly eliminating widespread feeling ofdisinterest in the political process and in community life which was obvious according to a record level of voter abstention in elections; and secondly, addressing social displeasure and political estrangement. (QCA 1998, p8). Even it was stated a long time ago these reasons are still being topical at the present time. Institutional racism was another cause of introducing citizenship education, it can beseen from the following statement: The teaching of citizenship in all primary schools and as a statutory subject in secondary schools will develop and encourage pupil`s understanding and mutual respect of each other`s differences. (Home Office, 2002b).
Setting out an explicit definition of citizenship education was also a big challenge and most of past approaches had failure in establishing aunanimous explanation of the concept. And it is still being contested as the notion of “citizenship” itself is quite complicated one. Three elements of citizenship- namely, the civil, the political and the social that were defined by T.H Marshall (Marshall, 1963) served as the basis for working out the definition of citizenship education. Consequently three main strands of “effective education forcitizenship” were allocated by the group, which are social and moral responsibility, community involvement and political literacy (QCA, 1998 and 2000). Above stated indicate to broad baseness of the scope of citizenship education and it was proclaimed by the Advisory group to be:
“The knowledge, skills and values to the nature and practices of participative democracy; the duties,responsibilities, rights and developments of pupils into citizens; and the value to individuals, schools and society of improvement in the local and wider community… both national and local and an awareness of world affairs and global issues, and of the economic realities of adult life.” (QCA, 1998).
Having studied the literature on this topic, I came to understand that citizenship education is a systematic...